As soon as I found myself in possession of the deed for Madame Orio, I hastened to pay a visit to the mistress of embroidery, in order to find an opportunity of acquainting Nanette with my success, and in a short note which I prepared, I informed her that in two days I would call to give the brevet to Madame Orio, and I begged her earnestly not to forget her promise to contrive a private interview with my dear Angela.
When I arrived, on the appointed day, at Madame Orio's house, Nanette, who had watched for my coming, dexterously conveyed to my hand a billet, requesting me to find a moment to read it before leaving the house. I found Madame Orio, Angela, the old procurator, and Marton in the room. Longing to read the note, I refused the seat offered to me, and presenting to Madame Orio the deed she had so long desired, I asked, as my only reward, the pleasure of kissing her hand, giving her to understand that I wanted to leave the room immediately.
"Oh, my dear abbe!" said the lady, "you shall have a kiss, but not on my hand, and no one can object to it, as I am thirty years older than you."
She might have said forty-five without going much astray. I gave her two kisses, which evidently satisfied her, for she desired me to perform the same ceremony with her nieces, but they both ran away, and Angela alone stood the brunt of my hardihood. After this the widow asked me to sit down.
"I cannot, Madame."
"Why, I beg?"
"I understand. Nanette, shew the way."
"Dear aunt, excuse me."
"Well, then, Marton."
"Oh! dear aunt, why do you not insist upon my sister obeying your orders?"
"Alas! madame, these young ladies are quite right. Allow me to retire."
"No, my dear abbe, my nieces are very foolish; M. Rosa, I am sure, will kindly."
The good procurator takes me affectionately by the hand, and leads me to the third story, where he leaves me. The moment I am alone I open my letter, and I read the following:
"My aunt will invite you to supper; do not accept. Go away as soon as we sit down to table, and Marton will escort you as far as the street door, but do not leave the house. When the street door is closed again, everyone thinking you are gone, go upstairs in the dark as far as the third floor, where you must wait for us. We will come up the moment M. Rosa has left the house, and our aunt has gone to bed. Angela will be at liberty to grant you throughout the night a tete-a-tete which, I trust, will prove a happy one."
Oh! what joy-what gratitude for the lucky chance which allowed me to read this letter on the very spot where I was to expect the dear abject of my love! Certain of finding my way without the slightest difficulty, I returned to Madame Orio's sitting-room, overwhelmed with happiness.